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Monday, December 9, 2019

BORNE ON THE WIND_WEP story



BORNE ON THE WIND
{1000 words}


“Your life, like snow, while ongoing masks your passage, when finished, marks your path.”
– Darael



Labored breathing.  I’d heard the term often but only now realized the reason for it.  Every breath hurt as if I were giving painful, hard-won birth to it.


The dead are never far from us. 

They're in our hearts and on our minds and in the end all that separates us from them is a single breath, one final grasp for air



From just outside my hospital room door, I heard the nurse snap, “Mr. Evans, I can only tell you that your tenant is in guarded condition.”


“I just want to know how soon I’ll be able to rent out his apartment.”


“Mr. Evans, he may well recover.


“Ha. If that’s him breathing, he ain’t got long for this world.”


“Then, you have your answer, don’t you?  Please leave.”


There was a long silence followed by heavy steps heading away from my door.



A face of flint stuck in from a crack in the door.  “Did he bother you?”


I shook my head and wheezed, “He only bothers himself, nurse.”


Her face softened.  “How can you be so forgiving?”


I managed a weak smile.  “He has to live with himself 24 hours a day.  How can I not feel sorry for him?”


She sighed, shook her head bemused, and quietly shut the door.


By the dim mirror light, I tried to make out the plaque on the opposite wall.  It was an ornate rendering of Margaret Fishback Powers’ poem, Footprints.  

 I snatched back the snort before it cut me in two.


Others had lived worse lives I knew, but when the blows came for me, I never felt carried.  Never.   

My footprints had always been solitary, lonely ones.  Women went for the Bad Boy never the ugly, poor Nice Guy.


I could have become mean, bitter, but what kind of company would I have been for myself then?   

Better by far to give encouragement and a smile to those who entered then left my world.


I spasmed a series of wet coughs that cut me in half, bending me in a fetal position.  The world blurred, became black.  I blinked my eyes to clear them. 

It truly wasn’t worth the effort. I saw shadows moving in the corners of my room.  Though I should have been alone, I wasn’t.  


Words, feeling like mine but were not, slithered into my mind: ‘You will die alone, unloved, unmourned.  Yours was a worthless life.’ 

Maybe the words weren't mine, but were they speaking the truth? Were they?


“Enough!” softly rumbled a Voice above me from the back of my bed.  “Did you not hear the nurse?  He is in guarded condition.”


Wails of pain and outrage pierced through my mind.  Then, the Voice of distant thunders spoke but one word.


“Go!”


The inside of my mind suddenly was all mine once more.




I turned to see who had spoken.  Fingers of soft steel took my shoulder and stopped me.


“No.  Not just yet.”


“Who are you?  What were those voices?”


“The unlearned call them demons.”


“Ah, I’m not important enough for demons to fool with.”


There was a hint of laughter underneath the rumbling words.  “Then, perhaps they were bored.”


The laughter disappeared.  “If you are in the light, darkness will always try to extinguish you.”


The Voice sighed, 

“You, born of Eve, look back on your lives and those of others and only see a meandering trail that wanders into the light and into the darkness to things you only imagine are there.”


There was a strange blur in front of me, and I hushed in a painful breath.  The plaque was gone from the wall.   

Somehow, I knew that the mysterious speaker was holding it in his hands.


“Her heart was in the right place but her perception off-course … like all those whose blood is that of Eve’s.”


“Who are you?” I wheezed.



“Those with cloudy perceptions call me Archangel.”


“And are wrong?”


“And right.  Life for you of tainted blood can be confusing.”


“An Archangel?  I’m just small potatoes.  I’m not worthy of someone like you.”


The undercurrent of laughter was back.  “Really?  Remember what I said of flawed perceptions?”


A flurry of mists billowed in front of me and out of it floated a slowly spinning globe of the earth.  A breath smelling of cedar and honey blew over my shoulder.  The masking clouds wisped away.


Tiny spots of golden light dotted every continent, appeared in isolated places on the seas.


“What are those?” I asked.


“Footprints.  Your footprints.”


“No.  I never left this city, much less this country.”


“Oh, but you have.”


 “How?”



“There are Nexus Points in every soul’s life where a shared laugh, a compassionate word, a needed affirmation of another’s worth, or desperately needed money left anonymously in a mailbox can start a ripple of random acts of kindness whose wake goes on and on.”



Steel fingers softly squeezed my shoulder.  “Those acts became a way of life for you.   

So much so that they became a part of you … and a part of all those you touched and a part of all those they in turn touched.”


My breath just wouldn’t come anymore as the Voice whispered in my ear. 


“Just now, the nurse you think of as Nurse Ratchet, because of your forgiveness, is withholding a bitter retort to a small child whose heart would have been shattered by those harsh words.”



An elephant seemed to be sitting on my chest and an ice-pick stabbing deep into my heart.  It hurt so badly I couldn’t speak.  I choked.  I heard a wet rattling gurgle in my throat.


The Voice murmured, “One last soul touched by you.”


Steel fingers settled on my chest.  The pain disappeared.  All became honey-light.


The ghost of laughter was back.  “Boot Camp is over, good and faithful servant.  Now, the adventure begins.”



One life well lived is long enough.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

I MISS CHRISTMAS



"We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
We tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how."
- Dan Fogelberg 


When we were innocent, Christmas seemed innocent, didn't it?

I remember sprinkling "reindeer food" 
over the grass in the back yard.

I remember leaving milk and cookies 
out for Santa.

I remember leaving a note for Santa 
to give my toys to a boy
who needed them more.


"What if Christmas," he thought,"doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
 - Dr. Seuss


We let our rationality leech the wonder and mystery out of our lives like calcium from bone and question why we break.

Do you understand how electricity works?  
No? 

But that does not stop you from flipping 
on the light switch.


Do you know how a touch screen works?  
No? 

But you still use it to search the internet.


Just because you don't understand
why God would choose to
visit us as a babe
doesn't stop it from being true.
 


Perhaps only the childlike "get" God.

Let the joy of children you see 
spark the memory 
of your own childhood 
during Christmas.


Our favorite Christmas carols
can bring to mind and heart more 
trusting, innocent times.


We live in a world of mystery 
despite the musings 
of pundits 
who blather they know it all.

Look up into the night sky 
with its myriad wonders
and be a child again.

Look at a drop of water 
under a microscope with its
tiny worlds within worlds. 


All this costs nothing
but
is worth more than gold.

TRY IT.


KEEP THE 
MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS
AND PERHAPS
IT WILL KEEP YOU

Friday, December 6, 2019

HOW TO FIND THE TIME TO WRITE DURING THE HOLIDAYS

I know how hard it is to find time to write during the holidays!

10 hours of straight rare blood runs for over 400 miles yesterday 

left me too wiped but to collapse and sleep until I had to get up to go to work!

But holiday writing can be done.

Today, I demon-possessed Orson Welles in 1946 New Orleans ... alternate history is so much fun ...

But not so much for the three former O.S.S. agents trying to survive a midnight stroll with him!

 (of course the corrupt New Orleans police force of that time didn't help either!)

Sometimes the truth is more fantastic than fiction.

But I digress ...


1.) FORGET THE GOAL OF OTHER MONTHS

Any words written now should be considered a victory.  Reward yourself for them.

 By removing the pressure of trying to beat the clock, you’ll free yourself to see your productivity in a new way. 

Also, give yourself a little slack this time of year.


2.)  BE A YOGA WRITER

Be flexible.  

Take an inventory of any free time:

 your lunch hour,

the time you spend waiting for your children during holiday pageant rehearsals,

 sitting in an airport waiting for your flight—you get the idea. 

Use this downtime to write. 

And since this “found” time doesn’t take away from any other holiday tasks you need to accomplish, 

you’ll be less likely to feel guilty about working on your writing projects.


3.)  TO YODA LISTEN -- A CREATURE OF HABIT YOU MUST NOT BE

Think you can only write at your favorite desk?

Unthink.

Bring a laptop, a tablet, or a pen and paper with you as you run your holiday errands. 

When you find you’ve arrived somewhere early,

 use those few extra minutes to jot down ideas or to continue working on an ongoing writing project.

You can also decide to wake up earlier (or stay up later) than usual to ensure 


that you spend some time at your favorite desk, with your favorite hot cocoa, and no interruptions.


4.) HANDS FULL -- MOUTH OPEN

 You’ve got five bags of holiday gifts in one hand and a platter of holiday goodies in the other hand. 

How are you supposed to type or hold a pen to write?

 With a dictation program for your computer or app for your cell phone, writing can be virtually hands-free!


5.) WRITE LIKE A SHUTTLE LAUNCH ... IN STAGES

 Look at marathon runners: they don’t begin their training by trying to run 26.2 miles. 

Instead, they run many shorter distances to build stamina, and slowly increase the mileage as they get stronger. 

Why would you start writing a book by trying to write the entire book?

Writing in 15 minute stages in the morning, then in the afternoon, and finally in the evening hours can get a lot of writing done per day.